Generations

Does 50 Ever Become Nifty?

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About a month ago, I reached a new milestone – I turned 50. I fully embraced my inner Sally O’Malley and was ready to take on the second part of my century.  Heck, after celebrating my 40th birthday, and the entire decade, I expected 50 to have a similar effect on me.

It did not.

It has, in fact, had the opposite effect. 50 has only served to highlight my lack of youth and inevitable aging.  Updating my blog to reflect my new “status” made me reflect on where I am.

While I have continued to age disgracefully, there is a profound sense of loss. I just cannot pinpoint what I have lost.

Only time will tell…

I have not changed the world or even traveled as much as I had hoped. I have not made my mark in society, as I continue to be one of the millions of drones who go about their lives every day.

All I know is that I am scared.

Scared that I, like so many others before me, will simply disappear into the obscurity of the aging process. Scared that as an “older” woman, who is well into menopause, I have become obsolete. Scared that my days as a sensual, sexual being are numbered, and the clock is not on my side.

So 50, we have reached an impasse. Will you help me reframe my pessimistic view of my immediate future? Or will I continue to morph into one “those women,” the ones we see, but look right through?

Only time, as limited as it is, will tell. But, it is not on my side.

On My Faith and this Election

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Goldie Taylor’s latest article for the Daily BeastDonald Trump Is Exposed, And So Are the Republicans Who Are Sticking With Him, demonstrates the hypocrisy inherent in the extreme right-wing of the GOP,  and their “do as I say, not as I do” holier than thou cavalier attitude towards their Christianity.

“But no principled, Christian conservative can justify backing a thrice married, serial philander who essentially confessed to sex crimes. However, this race was never about principle. It was never about Republican themes like small government, personal responsibility or family values. From the start, Trump’s campaign has been predicated on sexism (and ethno-nationalistic racism). It is and always has been about white male resentment and anguish. Trump bottled that antipathy—for women and minorities— and put it on a chartered flight to Iowa.”

There IS a choice for voters of Faith who believe that we ARE our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. A candidate who has raised an intelligent, poised, confident, loving daughter; who remained faithfully married to an adulterous husband for 40 years; who has championed the rights and protection of children her entire life; and who has been an outspoken advocate for women, People of Color, LGBTQIAP people, military personnel, Veterans and their families; and people of all Faiths and beliefs.

HER name is Hillary Clinton and we KNOW what her credentials are.

You can vote for the GOP nominee, who is the very personification of the “ugly American” – undisciplined, greed-driven, arrogant, ill-prepared, unhinged, deranged, impetuous, irritable, pathologically unfit, and fundamentally dangerous.catholics_for_hillary_drink_coaster-rc1854bb3dafc4de1aea5b1f2801fb4f1_29m68_8byvr_324

Or you can vote for Hillary Clinton. Third-party candidates are simply not an option.

We know Mrs. Clinton’s record. We know that ALL of her Democratic primary opponents have not only supported her candidacy for President of the United States, but are campaigning on her behalf.  That says more about her character and their respect for her, than the slickest political advertising.

So, my fellow voters of Faith, it is time to search your hearts and spend time meditating on the teachings of Jesus.  Then, take a close, long look at His actions, the people he surrounded Himself with and those He ministered to.

Then, ask yourselves which candidate more closely embodies those ideals. She needs our votes in November. She has EARNED our votes.

Thank God, and may our Blessed Mother guide and keep Hillary Clinton safe from now, through Election Day and her Inauguration.  Use your voice and vote for Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. She is the RIGHT choice. She is the ONLY choice.

As a Roman Catholic Latina, #ImWithHer and you should be too, because we Americans are #StrongerTogether.

Women So “Full of Rage” in Politics

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Ms. Causey makes the case for the rampant and institutionalized sexism and misogyny, in reporting and everyday speech, about women. 

If Hillary Clinton did not have an email “scandal” or been investigated time, and time again – and vindicated – for the death in Benghazi, the right wing would create some other scandal.   By the same token, they IGNORE and FAIL to similarly investigate Donald Trump.

It is abundantly clear that if this is to change, men must see, acknowledge and act upon this, WITH women. Until men understand that sexist language, images, and commentary about women is deleterious to ALL people, not just women. However, I am not confident they will. Unfortunately.

Trish Causey

Copyright 2016 by Trish Causey.

While riding the bus to the store recently, I overhead a man talking politics to two other men. The first man remarked that he didn’t like Hillary Clinton because she was always mad. “She’s full of rage!” he exclaimed, waving his arms.

I butted in, of course, and said, 1) “No, she’s not full of rage, but if she were, she’d be justified”; and 2) “As a female candidate, she would be judged as too soft if she were completely ladylike and demure.” To hear a man say that Hillary is “full of rage”, I had to laugh. Can you imagine how the media would have skewered Hillary if she were half as angry as Bernie Sanders or said even 0.05% of the awful things Donald Trump has said?

I went on to say that when a man is stern, he is viewed as a…

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My Vagenda of the day

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1.  Aspirin, fluids, benadryl and soup, to feel better.

2. Bringing all the boys to the yard, to crush their fragile egos, as we begin the manocide.

3. Slutty books and doggie cuddles.

4. Gilmore Girls marathon.

What’s on your  Vagenda of ManocideVagenda of Manocide?

 

Leadership, as Demonstrated by Bernie Sanders -#ImWithHer @HillaryClinton

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Today, Senator Bernie Sanders further doubled down on his support of Hillary Clinton for the Presidency of the United States.  He eloquently and explicitly stated why, in an opinion piece entitled “I Support Hillary Clinton. So Should Everyone Who Voted for Me” for the LA Times.

Most of Sen. Sanders’ supporters transitioned to Sec. Clinton during, and immediately following the Democratic Party’s Convention.  However, there were a small group of holdouts, who were being called the “tea party of the left.”  This vocal minority, many of whom have aligned themselves with the Green Party, were threatening to vote for Donald Trump, in protest.

Sen. Sanders did not mince any words when he said, “During the primaries, my supporters and I began a political revolution to transform America. That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principle of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”

“I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump,” He further stated. Sen. Sanders understands that in order to enact progressive legislation, Democrats and other left-leaning and centrist groups, must unite against the propsed tyranny of trump, and his ilk. Bernie or Bust bros please take note, as Sen. Sanders is demonstrating how consensus and coalition building works.

As for me, I got my “Woman Card,” so deal me in, because I’m with Hillary Clinton!

The GOP Platform Goes Completely off the Rails

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Each time the GOP lowered the bar for itself, during John McCain’s presidential campaign, I hoped someone would step up and say, “Enough!  We are better than this.”  But, once Sarah Palin became a  “leader” of the party, I knew the only hope for the party of Lincoln was destruction from the inside. Then, deep and careful introspection and a return to actual conservatism.

Sadly, I was wrong. Not only was Michael Steele fired as RNC Chair, but his suggested reforms, based on actual data, were  summarily dismissed. Mitt Romney, who had been a successful, but moderate governor, transformed himself into a bitter, angry man, in order to curry favor from the Koch brothers and others of that ilk.

This year, one of the most bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic and crazy platforms in the GOP’S history was unveiled.  As Esquire Magazine detailed, Republican Party Platform: Porn Is A Public Health Threat; Guns Are Not.  Wait.  WHAT?!!

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton said, “the party of Lincoln has become the party of trump.” Lynsey G. was a little less delicate in her blog post, GOP Platform Names Porn a “Public Health” Crisis.  Yes,  folks, pornography is a bigger health risk to our Country than poverty, the Flint Michigan water supply or even the  Zika virus. Bigger than gun violence.

The clown car of chaos has officially been taken over by Toonces, the Driving Cat, with the  GOP leadership’s tacit blessing. By doing nothing, they allowed themselves to sink into a hole of excrement they can no longer escape.

Trump’s GOP is little more than an episode of reality television, complete with undereducated surrogates, carelessly thrown out sensational lies, tabloid-worthy headlines and dangerous rhetoric that appeals to the very worst part of our society.

It is like a Maury Povich audience, on crack, with live ammunition, overdosed on Viagra, gone completely off the rails.  Only much much worse.

I am terrified for our country. Terrified.  We must vote as if our lives depend on it.  Not voting is no longer an option.

Courage, Grace and Strength Under the Most Insurmountable Odds

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Trigger Warning: This post, and the article shared, feature a rape victim’s frank and explicit statement to the man who raped her.  Please share with women and men, responsibly.

I have written about serving as an adviser to a college sorority for many years.  The experience forever changed me as a woman.

One of the most difficult subjects I encountered was how to frame the conversations around sex and consent.  This was before colleges and universities recognized rape, sexual assaults, sexual batteries and every point on that continuum as a violation of a student’s rights, according to the school’s own policies.

How I wish websites like Consent Is Everything had existed to give me tools on how to broach this delicate subject.  How I wish I had known what constituted consent when I was a college student. I would have recognized that I too was a victim of acquaintance rape.   And I would have known that it is far more common than we can imagine.

But, what happens when a brave young woman comes forward to share how she was unimaginably violated by a “star athlete?”  Why does she have to justify her actions, when he was the one who committed rape upon her?  Why is she the one whose morals and character are called into question?   And, how does she react when faced with the reality that his “status” may have ensured preferential treatment by the justice system?

What happens is this brilliantly heartbreaking victim’s statement, as shared by Buzzfeed’s news reporter, Katie Baker Here’s The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read To Her Attacker.

To the woman who stood strong, surrounded by people who loved and supported her, I say – your mission in life is ahead of you.  Each time you speak truth to power, you are helping another person.

To Brock Allen Turner, I say – may Karma find you. Repeatedly. For the rest of your miserable life, you rapist.

I Live in the “New Loneliness”

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In her article This is the New Loneliness Jamie Varon focuses on the Millennial Generation. She categorizes them as both the most and least connected generation, due to their inherent, almost organic, use of social media.

I believe millennials have a arrested interpersonal communication skills, simply as a result of being born into a technology-dependent culture.  Communication requires “doing.” As children, millenials were not encouraged to physically be present. Most of their play needs were met by technology. So, it is unfair to paint them as disconnected.  They connect differently.  Social media, rather than face-to-face interactions, is their preferred vehicle.

Ms. Varon overlooked the original disconnected generation – Generation X. 

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We were latchkey kids. Loneliness was ingrained in our lives.  Sure we participated in every activity we wanted to, but most of us held a piece of ourselves back – a self-preservation piece.

These early experiences served us well as we entered an unpredictable, and sometimes volatile work environment, vastly different from the generations that preceded us.  The days of a life-long career with one company ended, just as we came of age.  So we became latchkey adults.

Social media paired nicely with Generation X, because it allowed us that “separation” we learned in childhood.  Technology offered the buffer against anonymity. We were still communicating, just indirectly.

I work primarily from home, so I have limited contact with others. And, even though I prefer to work alone, I genuinely miss the everyday interactions among coworkers in an office.  

Sometimes, I force…no…motivate myself to physically interact with other people.  As a natural “loner” and “homebody,” this is as unnatural and outside my comfort zone, as it gets.

Additionally, I am an extroverted introvert, suffering from clinical depression. Not only do I have to psych myself up to “participate,” I then need several days within my soul cave to regroup and recharge.

The paradox for me has been that even though social media is  “artificial” (as in manmade, rather than preexisting) I am still myself when I am online.  Some people create entirely new personas and lives. I did not and have not. Regardless of the clever nicknames I take on, given the site, my personality remains intact. Acting as someone else, is just not in my skill set.

Missing in technology-based interactions are the subtleties of speech, inflection and body language.  For someone who joyfully wields sarcasm and dark humor, this is a slippery slope.  Not only have I written/said things that were not understood as I had intended, I too have felt the string of a poorly worded online barb.

And, those words that are carelessly hurled around under the guise of anonymity? Those words injure, sometimes fatally. They bring the loneliness to a level that surpasses having a “dark/gloomy” or even “sad” day. Social media gives us the liberty to erect  invisible walls to hide safely behind.

The key is to peek over the wall, open the gate and talk to our neighbors…but it’s easier and quicker to just text them, isn’t it?

Hermione Without Ron? Say It Ain’t So, J.K.

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ron and hermioneIn teaser quotes from an interiew with Emma Watson, guest editor at Wonderland Magazine, J.K. Rowling admits to having wanted Hermione Granger to end up with Harry Potter, not Ron Weasley.  (The issue will be available on Thursday.)

WHAT?!

As I read each book and the characters grew older, I found the pairing of Hermione and Ron to be inspired.   As the primary character, Harry, was the obvious (boring) choice as leading man.   I will admit to having imagined the two of them ending up together, but as the story progressed, the more compelling relationship was between Hermione and Ron.

It was a classic “opposites attract” story, imbedded in the “friends-to-lovers” theme.   Ron allowed Hermione to let her hair down, have fun and relax her natural intensity, while Hermione’s confidence in Ron empowered him to grow up, and into his own man.  It also allowed a ginger to be the romantic hero.  Genius!

I thank whatever literary gods and the Universe for ensuring that Ms. Rowling, not only kept Ron alive, but made him into an awkward, albeit truly lovable, romantic hero.   It was one of many different plot twists that made this series on of my favorites.

How do you feel about these new revelations?

El Bachelor.

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Rosas para las bachelorettes de Juan Pablo.
Rosas para las bachelorettes de Juan Pablo.

I have been a reality TV connoisseur since the first season of The Real World aired on MTV in 1992.  Additionally, I avidly watched dating game shows like “Love Connection,” “The Dating Game,” and my all-time, these-couples-will-need-family-therapy-after-the-show-airs favorite, “The Newlywed Game.”  If I see a Millionaire Matchmaker or Tough Love marathon on, I will make time to watch Patti and Steve deliver their stern, yet sage dating advice, to clueless women and men.

While I gravitate towards shows that focus on the cast’s talent, like So You Think You Can DanceProject Runway, The Sing Off and The Voice, big personalities like the ladies of Double DivasDance Moms, and this season’s little gem, Kim of Queens, which follows a former pageant queen as she molds girls into pageant winners, are always worth a look-see.

Working out with a trainer for TV shows.
Working out with a trainer for TV shows.

When the first season of “The Bachelor” aired, I watched it, but never became a fan.   Even when “The Bachelorette” spun off, I was not sold on the idea of “dating” 25 people in the bubble of reality TV.   However, a few of my die-hard “Bachelor” friends started commenting on the last season of “The Bachelorette,” starring Desiree Hartsock.   They really liked Desiree, and after following a few of their Facebook chats, I was intrigued enough that I started watching.   I also became invested in Desiree and hoped she would find a man who genuinely cared for her.  She did!  Together with beau Chris Siegfried, they celebrated their first New Year’s Eve together.

As we watched Desiree “date” the preselected hunks, one man stood out from the pack.  His name was Juan Pablo Galavis, the soccer-playing, single dad with the sexy Venezuelan accent.  Desiree may not have been attracted to Juan Pablo, but America was!  And so was I!  ¡Ay papacito!

ABC listened!  When they announced the next “Bachelor” would be Juan Pablo, people went crazy.  My middle-aged, happily married self, included.  Juan Pablo came across as a nice man, in a hunky package.  He was devoted to his daughter, Camila Valentina, who was born on Valentine’s Day, and remained friendly with Camila’s mother.   In other words, he was Central Casting directors’ wet dream.   The pre-show buzz included the special, The Bachelor: Countdown to Juan Pablo.  I watched it as research to prepare for the actual show.    Mmmmm.

El Bachelor!
El Bachelor!

The first show aired last night and Juan Pablo (and America) met the contestants vying for a rose.  ABC did not disappoint.  There were the requisite beautiful, intelligent, accomplished women, who should be able to find long-term relationship partners, and there were the “unique” women.  Some may categorize them as unconventional, quirky, socially awkward, overly emotional, but I like to call them reality TV “money.”   Let’s face it, no one watches reality TV to see normal, balanced, happy people.  We like our train wrecks, thank you very much.  Providing last night’s entertainment were Shoeless Lucy, Creepy Massage Therapist Amy J.,  Bicycle Piano Player Lauren S., Mineral Coordinator and What-Not-to-Share-on-a-Date-Queen Lauren.  Uninterested, Possibly Jetlagged, Opera Singer Sharleen  received the first rose, but did not look as if she wanted to accept it.  Ah, must see TV.

I will be pulling for Florida girl and single mom, Renee, Prosecutor Andi, and Pediatric Nurse Nikki.  And, of course, drunk girl drama, which seems to be a staple of “The Bachelor” franchise.  Popcorn, at the ready.

Cue the theme song for “El Bachelor” which could be Juan Pablo’s Lucha Libre alter ego, if he is unable to find love.

I live tweet during TV shows using Get Glue, if you would like to join the party!

¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

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I received the best gift I could ever hope for, on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) – time with Papi, Mami, Hubby, Brother (PSM), Sister-in-Law, 2 Nephews and our Niece. Later today (Christmas Day) we will spend time with my Mom-in-Law and Hubby’s extended family.

We exchanged funny cards and gave the kids the “Harry Potter” boxed set collection. Nothing is better that time with loved ones. Several years ago, we decided to only give gifts to the kids and enjoy the joy of watching tear open their presents. It keeps the focus on our family and we love it!

Hope the spirit of the season fills you with joy.

Please enjoy “Navidad en Panamá.”

Book Review – “Feel the Rush: A Hard Feelings Novel” by Kelsie Leverich

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After a plethora of twenty-something-billionaire-meets-ingénue-have-kinky-sex-and-a-HEA books, it was a pleasant surprise to find Kelsie Leverich’s work. I became a fan after reading her debut novel The Valentine’s Arrangement. As the wife of a Gulf War-Era US Army Veteran, I was drawn to her story about a soldier and his ladylove, because it did not shy away from the complexities of loving a man (or woman) in the military. Ms. Leverich wrote from personal experiences, with attention to detail and a deep respect for our troops and veterans. I had high expectations for her second novel Feel the Rush: A Hard Feelings Novel.

Feel the Rush began with the unexpected reunion of lovers who had an unrestrained, steamy, once-in-a-lifetime, one-night-stand. Megan Mitchell, a nurse at an Army hospital, moved from New York to Georgia, started a new job and vowed to find “Mr. Safe.” The first man she met was her next-door neighbor, Reed Porter, an Airborne Jumpmaster and daredevil extraordinaire – the epitome of “Mr. Wrong,” whom she recognized immediately as her one-time lover, from eight years ago.

Reed, however, did not recognize Megan until she jarred his memory and the same inexplicable attraction they felt was rekindled. Each time they were together the sex was hot and became progressively hotter. Neither was expecting the level of intimacy they experienced as they let their protective walls down.

These were likable characters – people we know, possibly our friends, or versions of ourselves. Megan consistently chose men who were emotionally unavailable. Reed seemed to fall into that category. He was the bad boy in an Army uniform, with a heart of gold, but uninterested in the same type of commitment, as Megan. While they seemed perfectly matched, they were looking for different things out of a long-term relationship.

Ms. Leverich built the tension slowly, as the lovers rediscovered their connection. We became invested in Megan and Reed’s emotional journeys as individuals and as a couple. Then, life happened, proving that they lived in a very small world. Two plot twists blew me away, and served to intensify Megan and Reed’s already complicated and moving relationship. I wanted to wrap my arms around both of these characters at different points during the book.

The secondary characters were fully developed people who added to the story. Megan’s best friends Eva and Trevor supported and confronted her on her own failings, as real friends would. The camaraderie exhibited by Reed’s fellow soldiers clearly illustrated the bonds created by men in uniform, who perform dangerous jobs. The soldiers were multifaceted alpha men, who cared for each other as family, and played a part in bringing Megan and Reed together.

Feel the Rush was funny, sad, sexy, and deeply poignant. It surpassed my expectations and had me reaching for tissues on several occasions. I highly recommend it for readers looking for rich characters who suffer unavoidable heartbreak, as they transition into the best version of themselves and learn to embrace love.

I highly recommend reading Ms. Leverich’s first novel in the series The Valentine’s Arrangement.

Links to my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

The 10 Reasons Why Generation-Y is Soft

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Please read this article then come back and share your thoughts – The 10 Reasons Why Generation-Y is Soft

I hoped this article, written by a member of Generation-Y, would spark a heated discussion, on his site.  Unfortunately, it created a forum for people to question his facts, but not offer any alternative thoughts.   Sadly, I suspect it will continue to degenerate into a list of “I know you are, but what am I,”  “you’re WRONG,” or “______ you” comments, so I brought the discussion over here, so we could delve into it with a little more in depth.

Source: ARMA International
Source: ARMA International

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of Generation X.  I received extensive human resources training in generational differences in the workplace, but I am a product of my generation and it certainly impacts by world view.  I identify with many of the characteristics ascribed to my generation: independent, due to being a latch key kid; suspicious and mistrusting of companies/corporations, after seeing many of my friends’ parents lose their jobs in the 1980s and 1990s; comfortable in a diverse workplace (and world), and place a great emphasis on work/life balance.  I work to live, not live to work.  I am also aware that we are not one of the larger generations (population-wise).   I graduated college in 1991 and in the mid-1990s returned to advise a couple of student organizations, at the same university, as a volunteer.

For the past eight years, I have noticed a growing disconnect with the students.   I knew I was “aging out,” or identifying more with their parents, than the students themselves.   Every year I felt as if we were growing apart, even though I tried to keep up with their cultural trends and interests.  This year, however, the gap became too great.  I knew it was time to move on, when my patience dwindled to nothing.

One of the minor reasons I stopped advising college students, was that I felt they were too “fragile.”  The women I worked with directly, learned quickly, that I never minced words.  To some, it was a rude awakening.   Some rose to the occasion immediately upon being treated as an adult.  Others did not, and discovered the “joys” of personal accountability, or cleaning up one’s messes.   I may have been the adviser, but ultimately, they were responsible for decisions made.   Time after time, I was impressed by these women, but they seemed to be the exception, not the norm.

When I read Eddie Cuffin’s article it resonated with me, because it hit upon many of the things I witnessed, not the least of which was a delayed emotional maturity.   At that moment, I knew my “honesty is the best policy”….well, brutal honesty, in my case, would not work with the newest generation and it was an opportunity for someone else to take my place.  I was also exhausted of being “misinterpreted,”  “translated” or worse, “watered-down” to make my words less harsh to delicate Generation-Y egos.   So, I moved on, but left with a sense that there was unfinished business and that I never really understood the newest 18-20-year-olds.

Generation-Y followers, do any of the ideas brought forth in this article resonate with you?  What about my Generation X and Baby Boomer followers, what have you observed?   Please share!